Yunnan is a province in southwestern China known for its beautiful landscapes and diverse citizens.
The province is situated in a mountainous area with high elevations in the northwest and lower elevations in the southwest. More than 45 million people called Yunnan home.
It may seem like an odd place to study Mandarin because it’s not the big city, but living in the southern part of China, in a smaller city, could actually benefit your Mandarin learning. In this blog post, we’ll share with you why you should study Chinese in Yunnan out of all places in China.
1. Diverse population
Yunnan is known for a very high level of ethnic diversity. Out of all the provinces and regions of China, Yunnan has the highest number of ethnic groups. Among China’s 56 recognized ethnic groups, 25 are found in Yunnan.
These different groups of people live all across the province giving people the feeling of being well represented when deciding to learn Chinese in Yunnan. About 38% of the province’s population are members of minorities.
With such a diverse population, you’ll experience a diverse set of languages and people. Every person you meet whether they’re local or not, will have a story to tell. You’ll be able to learn more about the culture in Yunnan through the residents living there.
Most dialects of the Chinese language spoken in Yunnan are forms of Mandarin, the most spoken language in the world.
Mandarin is the largest of the seven Chinese dialect groups and it’s spoken by more than 70% of Chinese speakers.
Since you’ll be studying Chinese in Yunnan, you’ll be able to adventure out of your school and interact with the locals. Chatting in Mandarin with local Yunnan citizens may be hard at first, but it will give you real-world experience practicing your skills.
Don’t be taken aback if the locals correct you, think of it as a school field trip and when you’re exploring, focus on speaking only Mandarin and using words that you’ve been practicing in the classroom.
One positive about living in smaller cities in Yunnan, compared to the big city life is that locals will actually stop and talk to you. Yes, everyone is busy, but Yunnan is known for its residents to be welcoming and friendly to tourists and expats.
3. Accredited schools
The capital of Yunnan is Kunming, a city known for its eternal spring-like weather. Kunming is also known for its Mandarin language school, Keats Chinese.
Keats School was founded in 2004 by Xue Feng and has since become one of the top Chinese language schools in China.
More than 40% of students return to Keats to continue their Mandarin Chinese journey because they have found success in learning Chinese in Yunnan. Many students who started their Mandarin language learning in bigger cities and schools transfer to Keats because of the reputation and Kunming lifestyle.
Keats School is accredited by the Provincial Education Department and the Kunming Education Department. This means that the teaching quality is checked by the education department every year. There are many schools in China that are not accredited.
Students can be assured that if they’re learning Mandarin in Yunnan at Keats, they will be learning from top quality teachers at a top quality school.
4. The adventures await
Known for the beautiful scenery, Yunnan has a number of hidden gems to explore when you’re not in school.
At Keats School, we believe to increase your fluency in Mandarin, not only do you need to be in a classroom, but you also need to be in public. During your weekends without classes, we encourage our students to get out and explore the city of Kunming and the province of Yunnan.
Yunnan is full of history and it’s a great place for you to deepen your understanding of the Chinese culture.
We wrote a full blog post about where to go in Kunming when you’re not studying. In Yunnan, be sure to explore Shangri-la, which has been regarded as one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Tibetan Buddhism.
If you’re not sure where to start when planning weekend adventures, contact Keats School. We have a Study + Tour option and would be happy to help you plan your Chinese travel bucket list.
5. Air quality
When you think of China, images may flash in your mind of bad air quality and people wearing masks everywhere. For many, these images rule out the thought of ever studying Mandarin in China.
But, we’re here to tell you that that’s not the case in Yunnan. Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, experiences some of the lowest levels of air pollution in China.
Kunming’s air quality index usually rests around 43, or good. In comparison, larger cities like Beijing rest around 60, or moderate/unhealthy.
These numbers do change daily. By visiting Numbeo, you can review pollution numbers closer to the date of your departure. But, one thing’s sure, you won’t be needing a mask if you’re planning to learn Mandarin and live in Yunnan.
Time to Buy Your Ticket
Yunnan has seen an increase in popularity with study abroad students. People are realizing that Yunnan is home to one of the best Mandarin language schools in China, the province has beautiful weather and the diverse population could come in handy when studying Mandarin.
If you have not made up your mind where to live when learning Chinese in Yunnan, Kunming should come up to the top of your list. To learn more about Kunming and Keats School, visit our blog.
If you’re ready to call Keats home, apply directly on our website. See you soon!